Time for Catholic Bishops Around the World to Request that Pope Francis answer the Dubia by October 13, 2017

July 2, 2017 (Steven O’Reilly) – Cardinal Muller is now out – no longer the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Taking his place as Prefect will be Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, until now the Secretary of the Congregation (see reporting by Edward Pentin at NCRegister).  Folks are understandably trying to read the tea leaves on this one. Ladaria was appointed to the CDF by Benedict XVI.  That’s “good.” Ladaria was just named its prefect by Pope Francis. That’s “bad.” My take on the appointment of Ladaria is probably closer to that of Fr. Z, i.e., that we “dodged one” (read Fr. Z’s full take here). Given some of the other names said to have been in the mix, things could have been far, far worse.

Yet, while we may have “dodged one,” I think the truth is: it never really mattered who replaces Cardinal Muller.  Pope Francis simply has no use for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). It seems clear enough from the Pope’s homilies and comments attacking his opponents, that Pope Francis likely views the CDF as little more than the Congregation for the Doctors of the Law and Rigidity.  Why would he bother placing one of his St. Gallen friends there as Prefect, if he is going to ignore it anyway? Better to place one of his St. Gallen buddies where they might accomplish something for his agenda. Consider, there have been reports that the CDF had raised questions about various parts of the draft of Amoris Laetitia before it was published. According to these accounts, the Pope simply ignored the CDF. Now, certainly, a Pope is not required to listen to advice and counsel, but it is certainly a prudent and wise thing to do to minimize the risk of confusion and ambiguity. Pope Honorius could have used a CDF in his day to screen his draft letters to Sergius of Constantinople. Unfortunately for Honorius and the Church of his day, he did not. The confusion that Honorius fostered led to his condemnation by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (here) and to some rather choice words about him by one of his successors, Pope Leo II.

To date, the pope has refused to answer the dubia. He has refused the cardinals attempts to meet privately to discuss them. He has ignored the publicizing of these efforts, although he appears to have taken pot shots at the dubia cardinals in his homilies from time to time. Pope Francis apparently skipped out again on meeting the College of Cardinals at the recent consistory. One might speculate that the Pope did so to avoid an occasion where he might have been confronted for his obstinate refusal to answer the dubia. I’d like to think he would have been confronted had the opportunity presented itself – but I have my doubts (as much as I respect the four dubia cardinals). Forget the CDF. It is not a player in this current crisis. It is abundantly clear: this Pope’s CDF – no matter who is Prefect – will not address the dubia in any official way.

So, where does this leave us? I don’t know. I don’t read tea leaves. I don’t drink tea. But, from what I see, the way forward for the dubia cardinals is not clear. Perhaps one way forward, as I suggested here, might be for the four cardinals – plus as many other cardinals as they can enlist into the effort – to address a signed, public declaration to all Catholic bishops around the world. This declaration would request that each one of them publicly request that Pope Francis definitively answer the dubia in a solemn manner – befitting a successor of St. Peter – which would “confirm the brethren” (cf Luke 22:32). The bishops should do this both by letters to the Pope and from their pulpits. The request should include a specified time period for the Pope to respond. Three months should be more than enough time. How about picking a specific date by which this be done? Pick a date with some import and meaning in the life of the Church in our times – one involving a message concerning the “dogma of the Faith,” sin and the reality of Hell.  How about October 13, 2017?







9 thoughts on “Time for Catholic Bishops Around the World to Request that Pope Francis answer the Dubia by October 13, 2017

  1. This whole Dubia thing is nothing else but a sick joke. The four Cardinals simply don’t have the courage to reprimand and contradict Bergoglio. And the reason is simply that they are a tiny minority. Modernists and Liberals — i.e. apostate unbelievers — have taken over the Catholic Church since Vatican II and are today in all relevant positions of power, including the Papacy. The only reasonable conclusion to draw from these facts is that the Church doesn’t exist anymore, Only a remnant is left of traditionalist movements and today only these movements are the Catholic Church. So let’s formalize this state of affairs and accept the de facto schism. Stay away from everything that comes from Bergoglio or the Vatican. The Novus Ordo is a Babylon of confusion which will be destroyed one day by the Hand of Heaven.


    1. Ronald, thanks for the comment. For me, at least, the issue is. . .it is not given to me to declare someone – who by all outward appearances of form and process to have been elected pope – to not be pope. We have had some pretty awful popes in the past morally speaking. We’ve had popes, like Honorius, condemned as a “heretic.” Thus, I see no reason to jump ship. Thus, while I may personally believe Francis is, to say the least, the most problematic pope we’ve had in Church history – it is not given to me to “un-pope” him. Great theologians have imagined, I think, this situation – such as Bellarmine. Being in communion with a valid pope is necessary for Salvation. Thus, personally, I would not suggest following the opinions of others or other bloggers, no matter how well-intentioned I believe they truly are, if *they* declare Francis is not Pope. I get it. There ARE hair-raising things in motion, and these are troubling times. I understand why folks are casting about for theories to understand and make sense of it all. However, I counsel, watch, wait, pray and know your catechism and Church history. If, and I mean *if* – we were to hypothetically grant Bergoglio is not Pope – we still would need some sort of authoritative process to determine this, or for God himself to reveal it to us.


      1. We have two reasons to believe that Francis is not the true pope:
        – The way Benedict resigned under “huge pressures from inside and outside the Vatican ” according to Mgr Luigi Negri, one of his best friends. If so, his resignation is invalid.
        – The way Francis was elected by the “St Gallen mafia” according to Card. Danneels own terms, in blatant contradiction to Universis Dominici Gregis issued by JPII. If so the cardinals who have partaken in the plot were excommunicated, including Bergoglio.
        Listing the many statements bordering to nonsenses or heresies uttered by Francis, the destructive and tyrannical way he wields his power and the many suspicious people who are surroundingor advising him since 4 years in no ways helps to believe that he is the true pope.


      2. Jacques, thanks for your comments. First, and more generally, there have been popes who have said things which were erroneous. John XXII and his view of the Beatific Vision is a prime example of that. Pope Honorius, though he did not teach monothelitism, put heretical and orthodox expressions under the same rule of silence – which helped spread the heresy. So, we have examples from history of popes showing us where the edges, so to speak, of papal infallibility may lay. We cannot presume God might not allow a worse example of a pope than they. My take is, Francis specifically disclaimed making a magisterial intervention in Amoris Laetitia at the very beginning of it (paras 2, 3, 4). More specifically, with regard to Benedict XVI, Mgr. Negri’s statements, though potentially evidence BXVI felt pressure, they are not evidence his abdication was invalid. Someone can feel pressure AND resign voluntarily. It seems clear, to me at least, that BXVI voluntarily resigned of his own free will, otherwise, it seems he is the greatest coward for maintaining the charade. I cannot think that of him, as it seems out of character, and he has nothing to lose to assert his authority – if he really had it. Thus, I am morally certain he does not. With regard to the St. Gallen “mafia” – it is disturbing. A number of cardinals have self-implicated themselves. However, no one has brought forward evidence that Cardinal Bergoglio had any culpable knowledge of their efforts or actively participated in them. Admittedly, it is difficult to believe he was blythely unaware. Still, that is not evidence. Further, if there was sufficient evidence, I would have to believe that Cardinals and bishops, learned in canon law, would have by now made this argument. Thus, again, I do not see how one can assert moral certainty that Pope Francis is NOT pope.


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